Are all calories equal?

by | Aug 9, 2020 | Nutrition


I absolutely love to read, I will read anything from the tv magazine, the words on the back of a shampoo bottle, instagram and Facebook content, to something that actually makes a difference to my life…something that will better my knowledge and my job. Through reading about nutrition on and offline…which I am genuinely interested in, I’ve come across the phrase ‘all calories are not created equal’, several times.

This phrase got me thinking a long while back as it’s my job to advise people on calorie content, intake and maintenance. After much reading and lots of thought I came to the conclusion that I disagree.

To use the phrase ‘all calories are not created equal’ would be insinuating that the calories from one food are different than the calories from the next 🤔.

For example, calories from a 🥗 salad are classed as good calories and calories from a 🍩 doughnut are classed as bad calories.

To me, that is like saying that the cm’s on a ruler are different to the cm’s on a tape measure 🤔. They aren’t. A cm is a cm just as a calorie is a calorie.

However….the nutritional value of a calorie is not equal. A salad is way more ‘nutritious’ than a doughnut, that is not even questionable and we would be daft to argue it.

That is why calories and nutrients are two entirely different individuals.

Calories: A unit that we use to measure how much energy a certain food will provide to our body. This is dictated by the composition of macros.

Nutrients: A nutrient is a substance that nourishes our bodies in the forms of fats, carbs and proteins. (Said macros above).

Calories do not nourish our bodies. End of.

A while back I remember very clearly a client saying to me ‘As long as I stay within my calories…technically I could lose weight on eating chocolate only couldn’t I?’. WellJesus Christ! I mean, I’d love a chocolate diet and still lose weight. And yes ‘technically’ it’s possible. But….you would consume your given calories a lot quicker than you would eating 3 healthier meals. Because the calorie content in chocolate is a lot higher than a salad or a plate of meat and veggies. That chocolate would have you feeling sluggish and shitty from the inside out also….because the nutrients are no where near any good for you as they are with the other option. And how hungry would you be on a diet of chocolate anyway….I’d be caloried out by 2pm if the way I enjoy chocolate is anything to go by!

So referring back to the top comparisons again…while your salad may provide you with 100 calories and a doughnut with little just over 300 (if you only eat one 🍩😝), the difference in calories is the TOTAL amount. Not the composition of each individual one.

To say it simply and put across the point I’m making to disagree, is they both have the same calories, the doughnut just has a hell of a lot more of them.

The calories from a doughnut will be processed in the same way that the calories from your salad would be. The nutrients however will not, they will be processed uniquely in the forms of fats, proteins and carbs. Fuelling the body in what it needs to function.

So to conclude, I say ‘all calories ARE created equal’ just as the cm’s on your ruler are no longer than the cm’s on my tape measure.

And just a side note….I totally don’t recommend you nourish your body with a doughnut….stick to the salad or veggies 😝🥗🍩.

Just a little ‘food’ for thought for you when you are trying to plan your food for the day.

Happy Sunday guys.

Kelly 😊